James B. Gosnell Jr., Charleston Judge in Roof Hearing Once Used Racial Slur on Bench.
Charleston Chief Magistrate James B. Gosnell Jr. prompted controversy at a bond hearing for Dylann Roof on Friday when he asked for sympathy for Roof’s family as well as the victims.
In 2005, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a public reprimand for misconduct to Gosnell. According to documents, in November 2003 Gosnell presided over a bond reduction hearing where he knew the defendant’s father. Speaking to the black defendant, Gosnell told the man “there are four kinds of people in this world – black people, white people, red necks, and n—–.”
In his defense, the judge said he was simply repeating a saying he had heard from a veteran sheriff’s deputy who was black.
When coupled with a separate allegation that Gosnell had shown improper favoritism to another judge arrested for drunken driving, the justices voted to issue a public reprimand, specifically citing “his racial remark.”
Once a friend of mine, who is black, told me she called a young black man the N-word because he teasingly grabbed her purse. I was shocked. I asked her why she used that word, and she said that the meaning is a “low class” person. That might explain the judge’s use of the word.